Monday Mornings with Madison

The Blessing of Hearing and Power of Sound

In listening to the news, one might get the impression that the world is a terrible place.  Global warming.  Rampant pollution.  Persistent wars.  Growing income inequality.  Epidemic diseases.  Gun violence.  Discrimination.  Religious intolerance.  We hear constantly about so many problems in the world.  The thought of all these problems might make some wonder – especially at this is the time of year when most people stop to reflect and give thanks – just what is there to be thankful for? Continue reading

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When Companies Dare to Radically Change Employee Compensation or Benefits

There has been a lot of discussion lately about employee compensation and benefits in the U.S.  Candidates running for President are spending a lot of time (in debates, interviews and during campaign stops) discussing topics such as income inequality, paid family leave and other bread-and-butter issues that are part and parcel of the business world.  To a small extent, these issues are regulated by legislation, such as federal and state minimum wage laws which dictate the least an employee can be paid hourly.  However, the vast majority of these HR issues are really under the purview of business leaders and owners.  For the most part, individual companies the U.S. decide how they want to compensate their employees.  Because of that, the usual array of wage and benefit packages – albeit a fairly wide range – has developed for employees at every level, from entry level to C-Suite positions. Continue reading

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The Changing Face of Search

Most people use search engines with little or no understanding of how they actually work – such as why one listing ranks higher than another or what cookies do or even how search engines are monetized.  This is partly the fault of the search engines, who keep a lot of what they do a secret.  But it is also partly because most people don’t really care how it works.  As long as it provides a wealth of information easily, accurately and quickly, the functionality hasn’t really mattered much.  However, business owners, managers and professionals should care, if they want their products or services to be ‘findable’ on the World Wide Web.  Without understanding how search engines work, it is impossible to ensure that a company’s desired messaging will be found by potential clients or customers. Continue reading

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Converged Media: A Mix of Owned, Earned and Paid

It used to be so much simpler to market a company 25 years ago.  That was before a computer programmer in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee introduced the World Wide Web in 1991. In the days before the Internet, search engines and smart phones, marketing consisted primarily of campaigns to targeted audiences using a controlled number of channels and a controlled message.  Practically all marketing efforts were paid for and directed by the company.  That’s not to say that getting the message across or selling a customer on a product or service was easier.  It wasn’t.  But for companies trying to communicate a message to a customer, the approach was simpler and more direct.  There was less messaging ‘noise’ to distract and confuse audiences. Continue reading

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Top Sales and Marketing Terms of 2015 – Part 2

Last week, we explored some of the latest terms trending in sales and marketing in 2015.  Some may have felt lost in lingo limbo, but most probably learned a thing or two about the emerging myriad of strategies and products available for businesses today to reach customers.  Knowledge is power.  But that doesn’t mean that a company should adopt every strategy, product and approach.  Quite the contrary. When it comes to sales and marketing, it is different strokes for different folks.  What works for one company may not have any value for another business.  The goal is to be discerning.  While early adopters embrace every trend, haphazardly trying each new thing, and late bloomers wait until a marketing strategy is thoroughly vetted and ubiquitous before even dipping a toe in the water, both extremes can be dangerous.   The key is to be knowledgeable of all the approaches exist and determine what might work best for a particular business in a particular industry. Continue reading

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Top Sales and Marketing Terms of 2015 – Part 1

Ever heard the term storyscaping?  How about snackable content?  What about beacons or beacon-triggered marketing or proximity marketing?   Conversation marketing.   Promoted chats.  Omnichannel.  Native advertising.  Programmatic Marketing.  Growth hacking.  Newsjacking.  If it feels like you’re reading Chinese — in English – you’re not alone. Continue reading

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Marketing and Selling to Specific Generations – Part 6

The iGeneration a/k/a Generation Z

The demographers, business analysts, writers and sociologists are still toying with what to call the newest generation that is now emerging after the Millennials. There are a few names being tossed around — Generation Z, plurals, Generation Wii and iGeneration.  iGen seems to be leading the pack.  The exact cutoff date between Millennials and iGens varies from 1997 to 2001.   But, basically all infants, toddlers, adolescents and practically all teenagers today are iGens. Continue reading

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Marketing and Selling to Specific Generations – Part 5

The Millennials

In the crowded landscape of generations, Millennials – initially dubbed Generation Y —  may be the most popular, examined and adored of any generational group in a long while.  Millennials, the first group to live from birth-to-death in the technology age, are one of the largest and most noteworthy cohorts.   Born roughly between 1981 to 2000, it’s estimated that there were approximately 80 million Millennials in the U.S. in 2012.  That number is expected to continue growing due to immigration of large numbers of younger people into the country. Continue reading

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Marketing and Selling to Specific Generations – Part 4

Generation X

When it comes to how much information and insights there are about a generation, the size and uniqueness of the group matters.  Behemoth generations get examined closely.  Demographers, sociologists, industrial psychologists, advertising researchers, and business analysts all spend oodles of time compiling and parsing data about BIG generations.  Because of their sheer size, the predilections, attitudes and actions of large generations have a profound impact on society.  Similarly, generations that are conspicuously different from previous ones get a lot of media attention and scientific study simply because they stand out.  This explains why the nearly 80 million Baby Boomers and the 75 million Millennials have been the media darlings for decades.  Those generational groups are both large and distinctive. Continue reading

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Marketing and Selling to Specific Generations – Part 3

The Baby Boomers

There are six generations alive in the U.S. today.  Assuming that for the most part the GI and Silent Generations are retired, very soon we will have four very different generations (Baby Boomers (ages 51-70), Gen Xers (ages 35-50), Millennials (ages 15-35) and the newest iGeneration (now teenagers) working side-by-side for the first time in history.   That’s due, in part, to the fact that people are living and working longer.  These four generations will also be customers, with very different values, experiences and styles.  They will likely also partake in very different kinds of activities.   This is both exciting and challenging.  How can a business manage such diverse audience of customers and employees?  Knowledge is key. Continue reading

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